The use of social networks has fundamentally changed how we interact with friends and family, what we talk about and how we make decisions. People are already using solutions like Whatsapp, Telegram and joining communities to talk about trading.
As the European market remains patchy with just a number of stock trading apps, incorporating an investment product in the social media platform to allow friends to invest, discuss and share their investment journey might be the way forward.
Betting big on the new trend, UK-based social and investing startup Shares has raised $40 million and unveiled its app. The series A round was led by Peter Thiel’s fund Valar Ventures and saw the participation of Singular, Global Founders Capital, and Red Sea Ventures.
The $40-million Series A funding comes on the back of one of Europe’s largest-ever seed rounds of $10 million pre-product in 2021, from investors that include early backers of N26, Wise and co-founder of Freetrade. The platform has already raised a total of $50 million before launching their app publicly.
The startup’s mission is to break down the barriers for first-time investors, democratise and demystify investment and give its users access to the thoughts and ideas of their trusted network to give everyone the opportunity and confidence to invest on a safe platform and grow their own portfolio.
Founded by Benjamin Chemla, François Ruty, and Harjas Singh less than a year ago, the app combines the simplicity of an investment product with all the features users would expect from a social media app to create a unique trading community offering users no-minimum, no fee access to hundreds of stocks from just £1.
And how does it work? Shares gives family, friends and experienced investors a single place to meet, discuss and invest, fostering long-term financial wellbeing through sharing thoughts and experience in order to grow and enjoy their investments together. This is then combined with the social experience investors have become accustomed to, using platforms such as Reddit, Whatsapp or Telegram, with an easy-to-use, moderated investment platform.
Benjamin Chemla, co-founder and CEO of Shares said: “The app is inspired by our own experiences as retail investors and we wanted to improve people’s journey by combining trading with a community element that would radically transform the way people approach finance.”
Harjas Singh, co-founder and chief product officer, Shares said: “Catered to resonate with the next generation of investors, the social element is integral to the experience, not an afterthought. In less than nine months, we’ve built an investing product with an incredible back-office capability with sophisticated AML and fin-crime detection systems.”
Key features include social trading where users can buy or sell and share their views on the investments by sharing captions and GIFs. Members can keep track of all their friends’ investments in real-time and group watchlists can help users to track next opportunities together with friends.